Thursday, April 24, 2003

Trusts ensure future of disabled

By Rob Phillips
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Dick Neidhard (left) has set up a trust for when he dies so his mentally disabled son, Tom, will continue with the same quality of life.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
| ZOOM |
FAIRFIELD - Every summer, Dick Neidhard sends his 51-year-old, mentally disabled son, Tom, to camp. For Tom, who works two part-time jobs, it's a vacation he enjoys.

Tom was diagnosed with schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder when he was in kindergarten. He receives about $500 a month in governmental aid and an additional $250 a month from his two jobs.

But Dick Neidhard knows this covers only bare necessities, such as rent and food. "Basically everything else that is not for room and board, we have to cover," he said.

And when he is gone, he wants to make sure his son is able to enjoy the same lifestyle. So Dick Neidhard set up a trust that the government could not touch.

The government "is very stringent on the amount of money you can have in the bank or you can earn on a monthly basis," said Kathy Morris, a planning coordinator for Butler County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. "If it exceeds a certain amount, they will start to reduce how much is received."

To help inform residents about such programs, many local agencies have combined efforts to hold sessions teaching about the benefits of setting up trusts for those with mental retardation.

"Real Life Experiences with the Trust Puzzle" will bring in lawyers and a banker to provide information. It will be held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Butler County Mental Health Board in Fairfield. Attendees can choose from sessions offered both days at 9-11:30 a.m. and 6:30-9:30 p.m. The event will be sponsored by nine agencies from Hamilton, Clermont, Warren and Butler counties.

Dick Neidhard will be one of three storytellers at the event.

"By bringing in real examples of people that have set up these type of trusts, we thought this would be a way for them to ask questions," Morris said.

Janet Metzelaar, of Loveland, will speak about a trust that was set up for her brother, Eric Potter, who has schizophrenia. Potter, 58, of Peebles, inherited money from his father after he died.

"We basically turned over the entire inheritance to the community fund, and the bank administers and invests the money so that it can grow," she said.

Metzelaar said she wanted her brother to continue receiving government aid so he could use the inheritance on things he enjoyed.

Metzelaar said the money was used to take Potter and a friend to their 40th high school reunion.

Sneezing, wheezing worse this year
City schools dropped lead inspections
Flower show has a winner with its new Coney venue

Adopt all reforms or none, Luken tells council
DNA leads to rape arrest
Trusts ensure future of disabled
Obituary: Michael Joseph Curro
Bengals' Lewis addresses NAACP
Tristate A.M. Report

PULFER: Laci Peterson
KORTE: City Hall
HOWARD: Some Good News

MU raises tuition, switches to one rate
Do-it-yourselfers discover human skull amid debris
Butler computer links long overdue
Teen indicted in attack on Y literacy tutor
Exchange teachers on tour
Lebanon council bails on new sidewalks
Butler Republican fund-raiser features Fox roast
Amelia senior wins new car for safe driving

Ohio GOP senator stands firm as block to Bush cut
As governor, Voinovich watched the bottom line
Use of eminent domain blasted
College students who died in arson are remembered
Ohio Moments
Ohio pushes for cleanup of waste at closed plant
Can DNA testing solve '30s mystery?

Attorney: Accused priest in Canada
Newport had to destroy neighborhood to save it
Airport noise complaints up as tests continue